HOW TO COMPLY WITH THE FEDERAL FAIR HOUSING ACT (FHA)

As a landlord or property manager, it is essential to understand the different laws pertaining to rental housing that are in place to protect tenants. Fair Housing is a component under the federal law which refers to the right everyone has to rent a place regardless of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, familial status or disability. Besides the federal law, each state and local governments have their own versions of Fair Housing laws that landlords would have to take note of.
Here is an explanation of some components of the federal Fair Housing Act (FHA).

Protected Classes

Under the Fair Housing Act, landlords are prohibited from discriminating against a person who falls under one or more of the protected classes. Discrimination in this case refers to treating them differently. To avoid being viewed as discriminatory, landlords should treat all potential tenants who are interested in their property the same way and answer their queries in a standardized manner.
A landlord should also watch the questions or suggestions they provide to potential tenants as it might come across as discriminatory, such as asking questions regarding their marital status. The best practice would be to let the potential tenant ask the questions and the landlord will just have to answer them factually.
(There may be other protected classes under additional state or local laws, such as LGBT status, income, age and sexual orientation.)
There are some special rules for different protected classes. When it concerns families, landlords are prohibited from rejecting interested tenants just because they have children. Even directing them to other properties that are more suitable for children is not allowed and considered discriminatory.
When it concerns disabled tenants, a landlord must comply with the following special rules:

Reasonable Accommodation refers to requests that a disabled tenant can make for an exception to the rules and policies of the rental. This includes allowing a live-in caregiver or a service animal, which is not considered a pet. The extra costs (often little to no cost) of these exceptions have to be borne by the landlord and cannot be charged to tenant.

Reasonable Modifications refers to changes being made to the property so as to give the tenant access to all the amenities, such as grab bars in the bathroom or ramps at the entryway. The cost of these can either be borne by the landlord or the tenant, depending on the arrangement.
Tenants with disabilities might make requests under these two categories, but the landlord should always wait for the tenant to make these request instead of suggesting it as it may be perceived as discriminatory. To refuse the tenant’s request, the landlord would have to issue a letter explaining the reasons behind the refusal, which has to be substantiated with facts.
It would be best for a landlord to document all interactions with potential tenants which could be served as evidence when accused of being discriminatory.

Advertising

When advertising their rental properties, landlords must ensure that there are no discriminatory statements in their advertisements. They should not word their advertisement in ways that would seem as though they are looking for or excluding a specific group of tenants such as young couples. The focus of the advertisement should be on the property and not the prospective tenant.
Landlords are also not allowed to falsely state that their property is not available just to deter “unwanted” tenants.

Steering Renters

Steering is the act of trying to defer or recommend a potential tenant to a property based on the protected classes. For instance, recommending a property in the Asian community just because the potential tenant is Asian or not showing them a property near a school just because they do not have children.

Landlords should always provide all potential tenants with all their available listings and focus on facts instead of assumptions when recommending properties.

Renter Applications and Screening

When reviewing potential tenants, landlords should establish and document a set of criteria that they require them to meet to be considered for tenancy. Landlords can request for tenants to provide information regarding source of income, credit score and criminal record, which will then be used as the criteria to evaluate the suitability of that tenant.

By establishing a standard set of criteria, the landlord will be able to clearly filter through tenants who do not meet their requirements and reject them based on a valid reason. Landlords should always document all applications and screening documents that can be used as evidence in the future if accused of being discriminatory.

Apartment Policies and Rule

Landlords are allowed to set policies and rules for their properties, but they would have to ensure that these policies and rules are applied to all tenants and not only a certain group of tenants. They are also allowed to set a maximum occupancy for their property by stating the number of “people” they allow and never “children” as that would mean they are limiting the number of children allowed (infants under the age of 1 are not considered as occupants). Landlords should familiarize themselves with their state’s laws on maximum occupancy when setting a maximum occupancy for their property.

Documentation

Landlords should always document all interactions with potential tenants and keep all rental applications and credit reports (check with state how long these documents should be kept). These could possibly be used as evidence when accused of being discriminatory. When accused, the landlord should not retaliate but instead immediately contact a legal professional.

Training

The Fair Housing Act is important for all landlords and their employees. It is essential that everyone is trained and understands all the laws and practices to ensure that their rental business is compliant.

Information from: https://www.zillow.com/rental-manager/resources/articles/fair-housing-guide/?utm_source=email&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=emm_zrm_fairhousing_041816_text

8 Steps To Finding The Perfect Tenant

The hardest part of being a landlord or a property manager is by far how to find the perfect tenant. The perfect tenant is a person

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• who will take care of your property as if it is their own
• who will be a good neighbor to other people living in the same community
• who will have a steady job and will pay their rent on time
• who will commit to renting your property for a longer period of time
• who take care of minor maintenance issues themselves and notify you if something is broken in your property
• who will ask you for permission if he/she wants to make changes to the property
• who will give you plenty of notice when planning on moving out
• who will not engage in criminal behavior
• who is honest

And so on……..impossible to find? ……… maybe…….maybe not!

Choosing a tenant to fill your vacant property shouldn’t be a rushed process! A bad tenant can cost you a lot of time and money, so it is better to take your time finding the right tenant. Every prospective tenant should be screened in a systematic way so in the end you can make a decision based on a set of information that is the same for every applicant. This will also be helpful when trying to stay compliant with all the federal, state and local fair housing laws.

So here are 8 steps to follow to find that perfect tenant;

Step 1: Set standards that every applicant must meet to be “qualified”
Creating a set of standards that applicants must meet to qualify is extremely important. This set of standards can be different for each rental unit dependent on the quality and location of the rental. Standards could include things like verifiable income 3 times the amount of the rent, a credit score of 650 or above, never been evicted, maximum number of people who can live in the property, a pet policy and so on. As a landlord you get to determine what those criteria will be as long as they stay within the bounds of all fair housing laws. Then once you have your set of standards you will have to apply them consistently.

Step 2: Talk to applicants on the phone
When potential tenants contact you to tell you they are interested, make sure you talk to them on the phone before inviting them to visit the property. This is where the actual rental screening process starts. With a short phone interview you can quickly weed out tenants that are not serious and/or not qualified.

Put some effort in asking the right questions based on the standards you have set. Questions like what kind of pets do you have and how many people will be moving into my property are some of the questions to ask. Other questions could be; When are you looking to move? How long do you want to rent for? How long have you lived at your current address? Why are you moving? and so on. Make sure to mention the rent amount and the deposit amount and ask them if they can afford those amounts. Make sure to take notes and listen for inconsistencies in answers and applicants who are trying to avoid answering certain questions.

After filling out the pre-qualification form for all potential tenants that are still interested in the property, review the information and invite the most serious prospects to a scheduled tour of the rental.

Step 3: Show the rental property
realtormeetIt is hard to believe but sometimes applicants want to rent your place without even having visited the property! Please do not agree to this. You do want to meet applicants in person no matter how perfect they sound. Usually you get a lot better idea of what type of person someone is by meeting them. Here are some things to look for during the showing:

• Are they on time?
• Do you like them?
• Do they fit the profile?
• Do they seem to be very interested?
• Re-ask them some of the questions you asked them during the phone interview and see if their answers match?
• Do they look clean, put together?
• What is your gut feeling?

Based on this information you should have a pretty good idea of what type of person you are dealing with. So if it feels right, and the potential tenant is still interested, hand them an application and ask them to fill it out right then and there.

Step 4: Have the applicant fill out a rental application and charge an application fee
Personal information such as name, current address, Date of Birth and SSN of all renters above the age of 18 should be part of the rental app. Other information to request is the current and last two landlords, current and last two employers, monthly income, and pets if any. In addition, a reasonable application fee should be charged. Just make sure you follow all the local laws with regard to the application fee. In addition, make sure the application includes an authorization to do a complete background screening on the tenant including a national criminal and eviction check and a credit history check. The filled out application and the collected fee will be a good indication if the potential tenant is serious about renting your property.

Step 5: Review the applications
When reviewing all the applications, make sure that you comply with both federal laws (Fair Housing Act and Fair Credit Reporting Act) as well as the local ordinances that apply to the location of your property. Some landlords use their gut instinct to select their tenant but when you are facing discriminating charges in court this will not be a good defense. Make sure to store all applications of all interested tenants for several years, use the same rental application and use the same criteria for all applicants. This way you can prove that you did not discriminate and you can also objectively and fairly analyze and compare all prospective tenants to select the best one.

Make sure to read all rental apps carefully and pay attention to all the things that might disqualify an applicant such as no income, no employment, large pets, no previous landlords listed, no employers listed and so on. Do not believe everything you see on an application. Compare the application with the background check you will run in Step 6 and you will get a good idea if the applicant has been honest on their application.

Step 6: Run a comprehensive background screening report including a credit history
criminal checkSo you have pre-qualified the applicant; you like the person, the applicant has filled out the application, paid the fee and passed with flying colors. Don’t stop your screening process here. As previously mentioned, not everyone is honest on their application and during the pre-screening process! Background screenings should include a SSN trace, previous addresses, National Criminal and Sex Offender Search, National Eviction Search and an in depth Credit History. Running a comprehensive background screening report on potential tenants is an absolute must and is pretty easy to do these days.

Houserie.com is an online tenant screening company that will provide you with a comprehensive report that has all the criminal, eviction and credit background information you would need to make an informed decision on a tenant. We offer pay-as-you-go pricing and packages ranging from $19.99 though $29.99. It is all online and you can have the tenant fill out their own information online or you can decide to fill out the tenant information yourself online. When ordered during business hours the report should be available within a few hours sometimes even faster. Check out the Houserie ultimate sample report for more information.

When reading the report please pay close attention to issues that may disqualify your applicant based on your set of criteria such as certain criminal offenses, evictions, poor payment history, low credit score, bankruptcies and many collections/charge offs. The credit score range will tell you if the potential tenant makes payments on time, owes a significant amount of money, the number of tradelines used and the length of their credit history. If applicants have a history of not paying credit payments on time, they might not pay their rent either!

Step 7: Check references
You are almost done finding the best tenant possible, but do not stop here. Checking employment and landlord references listed in the rental application is one of the most important steps in screening your applicant. This should include contacting the last couple of landlords, their current employer, and any personal references if available. This sounds time consuming but it is the best way for you to develop a better picture of what your tenant is really like.

References from previous landlords. If an applicant has listed previous landlords, please call them and ask them questions like “Did the tenant pay their rent on time? Did you encounter any problems with this tenant? How long did the tenant live in your property? Please be aware that sometimes tenants will give “fake” references, meaning they will list a friend as a previous landlord! Also when talking to their current landlord, be aware they might not be always truthful as they might be trying to “get rid” of a difficult tenant.

References from current employer. Hopefully your applicant has been employed for a longer period of time with their current employer. To verify income, please request the tenant to provide you with a copy of the most recent paystub. You should also call the employer to get more insights. Many companies have rules and regulations on what information they’re able to disclose about their employees, so asking questions that require a yes or no answer might get better results than open ended questions. At least try to verify the information given on the application.

Step 8: Make a decision
rentedFinally you have reached the end of the tenant screening process. Now it is time to make a decision. After reviewing all the information in detail and comparing this information with the standards you set, you can now make your decision. Hopefully you have found that perfect tenant and you can have the applicant sign the lease and agree to all the rules and regulations. Congratulations on finding the perfect tenant!

How Landlords Can Handle Tenant Versus Tenant Problems

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As a landlord or property owner, you face a multitude of problems. One of the hardest problems you may face is a tenant versus tenant disagreement. Here are some great tips and suggestions to help you mediate and solve a tenant versus tenant dispute.

Make Yourself Available

When your tenants initially move in, it’s a good idea to let them know you’re available for them if they encounter any problems. If they do encounter a problem, let them know they should contact you first.

Also, let them know what time you’re available and how they can contact you. Letting your tenants know that you’re there for them will make it easier for them to contact you for help if an issue does arise. This will help you greatly if a tenant does approach you with an issue involving another tenant because you will now be able to act as mediator, which allows you the opportunity to defuse. The earlier you know the easier it may be to fix.

Keep Yourself Safe

It’s very important as a landlord or property owner to always keep yourself and your tenants safe. Sometimes some problems are just too big for one person to handle, and you may not have the resources to correct them. If you ever feel unsafe about talking to or encountering a tenant, you may need to get the proper authorities involved. Always remember that there are some problems that are just too big to handle for even landlords and property owners.

Always Be Professional

No matters how out of hand a situation between tenants has gotten, you need to make sure that you always stay professional. You don’t ever want tenants to feel that coming to you with a problem is a bad choice. Be sure that you are listening to the tenant. and let them know that you are taking their problem seriously. Handling a situation in a professional manner is the right thing to do and is also a good way to show the tenant that you do care about what is going on.

Figure Out What the Tenants Want to Happen With the Situation

Once tenants have approached you with an issue and have told you their side of the story it’s a good idea to find out what they want to happen. A good example is a tenant complaining about another tenant being too loud. The tenant may be complaining about the timing of the noise, not the noise itself. The tenant may ask you to see if the tenant can keep the noise down during certain hours of the day. With this information you now know what to say to the other tenant to help remedy the situation and keep both parties happy.

Try to Work Out Disputes as Quickly As Possible

As a landlord or property owner, you need to get tenant disputes taken care of as soon as possible. Taking care of something as soon as possible is a good way to show your tenants that you care and are looking out for their well-being. The sooner a tenant versus tenant dispute is taken care of, the better it will be for all parties involved. Getting a situation taken care of quickly will also be one less thing that is hanging over your head.

Every Situation Should Be Treated Differently

Not matter what dispute a tenant has with another, be sure to treat each dispute as if it’s the first time you have handled it. What worked out in the past may not work for the present problem in front of you. Also, what worked for other tenants may not be what your current tenants want. Each situation is different and should be treated differently.

Check Back on Tenants to Make Sure the Problem is Solved

Be sure that after you have helped tenants resolve an issue that you contact them later to make sure everything is still okay. You hope that when you help tenants fix an issue that it stays fixed, since there is a chance it may not. Checking in with them to make sure both parties are keeping up with their side of the bargain is a very good idea. If they are not, it’s a good time to remember what they had agreed upon.

Conclusion

Tenant versus tenant issues can come up at any time and can range from simple issues like a tenant worried about a noisy neighbor to more extreme problems. Being ready for these problems is a huge step into getting these problems resolved. Hopefully with these suggestions you will be ready and better prepared to handle tenant versus tenant issues if and when they arise.

 

Tenant Screening in a Galaxy Far Far Away

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Tenant Screening In a Galaxy Far Far Away

Even if you are in a galaxy far far away you should still be performing tenant’s screenings on any potential tenant. We wondered how some of the most popular Star Wars characters would fare in a tenant screening. Here are the results. Would you rent your space property to them?

Obi-Wan Kenobi

Obi-Wan is one of the most popular Jedi’s in the galaxy. No matter his popularity you will still need to run a tenant screening on him. Here is what you most likely will find on Obi-Wan’s tenant screening report.

Social Security Number Trace – Obi-Wan’s trace should bring up some of his other aliases, Ben Kenobi and old Ben. The trace should show Obi-Wan’s previous place of residence, a small isolated hut in the mountains of Tatooine.

Criminal Background – Obi-Wan has a very clean background. The only thing that could possibly show up on his criminal record is a charge of breaking and entering when he snuck onto the Death Star.

Eviction Search – He currently lives in a deserted area of Tatooine by himself. We don’t know if he pays rent or owns his hut. He has been out there a long time so some may say he owns the property due to “Squatters rights.”

Quick Tenant Credit Score Card – Obi-Wan didn’t have any credit issues before he went into hiding. His credit score may be low due to inactivity.

Boba Fett

Boba Fett is known as one of the most ruthless bounty hunters in the galaxy. No matter how ruthless he still needs a place to live.

Social Security Number Trace – A social security number trace would be a must for Mr. Fett as he does come from a batch of clones. You would see that Boba’s only known residence is located in his home town Kamino.

Criminal Background – Boba Fett may have a long criminal record depending on the state you’re in. Performing bounty hunting duties is not a crime in some states.

Eviction Search – Boba Fett can be described as a bit of a workaholic. He is usually just flying around from place to place fetching bounties. He has no prior evictions.

Quick Tenant Credit Score Card – Boba has a low credit score due to the fact he only uses cash. A lot of the bounties he’s collecting are for some not so trustworthy people like Jabba Da Hutt. No surprise he only deals in cash.

Princess Leia

Princess Leia is a Senator of Alderaan and heir to the Alderaanian throne. No matter the royal ties she still needs a tenant screening.

Social Security Number Trace – There is nothing to worry about when Leia gets her social security number trace. She has no other aliases and has lived in a home with senators her whole life.

Criminal Background – Princess Leia’s criminal background is very clean. If you’re a part of the evil empire you may see her as a thief for stealing plans to the death star.

Eviction Search – Princess Leia has no prior evictions on her record. She has lived in a palace on Alderaan her whole life.

Quick Tenant Credit Score Card – Princess Leia has an outstanding credit score card. She is a member of a royal family, so don’t expect to see any red flags here.

Han Solo

Han Solo is known as one of the most wanted smugglers in the galaxy.

Social Security Number Search – Hans Solo’s trace may not reveal many previous residences. He is constantly on the run and can be found on the Millennium Falcon with Chewbacca.

Criminal Background – Han Solo is going to have a very long criminal background. Most of Han’s clientele are mobsters and gangsters. He is usually not smuggling legal cargo. Solo may also be wanted for the murder of Creedo, depending on who you think shot first.

Eviction Search – Han has no previous evictions due to the fact that he has no previous residences. He is usually just found flying around in his only known residence the Millennium Falcon.

Quick Tenant Credit Score Card – Han has a very low credit score. Han is paid mostly in cash and pays mostly in cash. Han wouldn’t want to leave a paper trail that bounty hunters could pick up.

Luke Skywalker

Luke Skywalker is a young farm boy from Tatooine. He will later become one of the most well known Jedi knights.

Social Security Number Search – Luke Skywalker’s social security number trace will not reveal very much. His only known residence is with Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru.

Criminal Background – Luke has no criminal background.

Eviction Search – Luke has no evictions on his record. Luke’s only known previous residence is in Tatooine.

Quick Tenant Credit Score Card – Luke is young so he may still be in the process of building up his credit. A big thing that works against him is that he doesn’t have a paying job.

Darth Vader

Darth Vader is known as the biggest villain in the galaxy. He is a well known Sith Lord and the right hand to the emperor.

Social Security Number Search – Darth Vader’s social security scan should include his alias, Anakin Skywalker.

Criminal Background – Vader has a very long criminal background. He has murdered over 200 people and assaulted many co-workers. He has also ordered the destructions of entire planets.

Eviction Search – Darth Vader has traveled all over the galaxy, but has just one residence, the Death Star. He has no former evictions.

Quick Tenant Credit Score Card – Darth has a very low credit score card. He usually doesn’t use any type of money, he takes everything by force.

Now that you have the screening reports on some of the most popular characters in the Star Wars galaxy, you can decide if you would take them on as tenants. Who would you want as your new tenant?

Screening Tenants: A Guide for Landlords

Tenant Background Screening

Finding a suitable and respectable tenant is one of the hardest jobs a landlord faces. Vigilance in searching for a potential tenant will lead to finding one who is trustworthy and reliable, and won’t end up trashing your unit or leaving and breaking the lease contract. There are too many landlords out there who never screen applicants before approving tenants, leading to many issues and headaches later. Thankfully, there are many ways for a landlord to screen tenants, and with new and emerging technology, landlords can now check backgrounds and run credit checks much quicker and easier than in the past. Remember, there is no excuse not to screen your potential tenants with so many quick and easy ways to do so.

  1. Create a paper application process (if you don’t already have one). Make sure to include all pertinent information that you will need from the tenant, including: full name, date of birth, Social Security Number, their current address, background information, employment data, rental history (this is important so you can contact previous landlords to see how the tenants have done in the past), income and also personal references. If you don’t have an application form, you can create your own simple version, or you can get a free one from the local real estate association. Once the tenant has filled out the application, here are a few things to look for:
  • Income. You need to make sure that the potential tenant’s income will be sufficient to cover the amount of rent they would be paying. Keep in mind they have other bills to pay as well.
  • Current (and previous) employers. Check out how long they have been with their current employer. Have they had multiple jobs? Do they have long gaps in between jobs?
  • Lifestyle clues. Take a look to see if the potential tenant has any pets, or other information that might be pertinent to whether or not they would make a good tenant.
  • Financial data. In order to do a thorough background check, you will need to ask the tenant for their financial information on the application. A full financial picture of the potential tenant is key to finding a reliable tenant.
  • Any personal references. Be sure to check up on any personal references that the tenant gives on the application. References should include the references’ names, phone numbers and how long they’ve known the tenant. Don’t just look it over, make sure to call at least one or two to verify they know the tenant and perhaps ask a few questions, such as how long they’ve known the tenant, their relationship with them and how they know them (Church? Work? Family?).
  1. Do an online search for the potential tenant. Searching online (using Google or Bing, or another popular search engine) will tell you a lot about a person; make sure to see if the tenant has any social media profiles, a website, or a blog. Decide by looking at everything online whether the tenant would be right for your property. If they don’t happen to have anything online to look at, then just skip this step.
  2. Run a comprehensive background check on the tenant. A comprehensive background check will reveal the tenant’s history and give a detailed report on any evictions, criminal activity and charges, and public records as well. You can order a background check through several different companies. Online reports are also available. If you’re watching your budget (most companies charge a fee for this service), you can do your own background check by contacting the local courts or police department, however this might be a very time consuming process.  As a side note, some states don’t allow landlords to reject a potential tenant based solely on if they have a criminal history (you will have to check with your state to see if this is enforced in your state).
  3. Run a credit check. There are three major companies that you can run a credit check through: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. A credit check will let you see a tenant’s credit history for the last 7-10 years, and will give you an idea of the tenant’s credit activity (such as if they’ve ever declared bankruptcy, have any late payments, charged-off credit cards, etc.). To simplify this background screening process and to get comprehensive information on the tenant, you can use a service like Houserie.com to get not only a credit check, but also a comprehensive national criminal and an eviction check for a low fee.
  4. Reach out to previous landlords. Once the tenant has “passed” the first four steps, now it’s time to contact the tenant’s past landlords. Questions to ask include: Did the tenant always pay their rent on time? Did they ever damage the property? Did they get along with their neighbors? Was the property clean and undamaged when they left? All of these questions will give you a clearer picture of the tenant and how they will behave if you allow them to rent your property.
  5. Contact the employer. Once you have talked to the tenant’s past landlords, have a short phone conversation with the tenant’s current employer. A few important questions to ask might include the reliability of the tenant, verify that they do indeed work there, the tenant’s salary (some employers or Human Resource workers won’t give out this information; in this case, make sure to get two or three past pay stubs from the tenant) and if termination is in process.
  6. Set up a face-to-face interview with the potential tenant. Once you have completed all of the above steps, the final step would be to set up an interview with the tenant. Here are a few important questions to ask the prospective tenant:
  • Do you have any pets? How many do you have, and are they housebroken? (If you don’t allow pets, make sure the tenant knows this upfront.)
  • Do you smoke? If so, do you smoke outside or indoors?
  • Do you have people who stay the night frequently (family and friends)?
  • Do you have any children? If so, how many and what are their ages? Remember you cannot reject a tenant based on familial status, i.e. whether they have children and if so, how many children they have.

Now that you have completed all of these steps for screening your potential tenant, go over the lease contract with the tenant in detail. Then when both parties agree have the tenant sign the lease and move in! This whole process might seem like a lot of work but in the end finding the right tenant will save you time, money and a lot of stress.

Steps In The Tenant Screening Process

steps

Once you have your prospective listing ready to be rented, how do you find good tenants? Screening potential tenants with proper and lawful screening techniques can cut down on problems you could possibly face. The following are some steps in the tenant screening process to properly screen potential tenants:

 

1. Have Tenants Fill Out Rental Application

Having tenants fill out a rental application is a good way for you to first get information about them. You will be able to obtain information, such as their social security number, current address, and if they are currently employed.

2. Pay For A Tenant Screening

Most landlords will charge an application fee that can go towards paying for a tenant screening, rather than paying out of their own pocket.

3. Screen Your Tenants

There are tenant-screening services that landlords can use, such as Houserie.com (www.houserie.com). Screening a tenant yourself can be very time consuming and not always accurate.

4. Receive Screening Results

If a landlord uses an online service such as Houserie.com, the results can get back to them as soon as 24 hours. Depending on the screening you get, you can find out a tenant’s criminal background, if they have any past evictions, a summary of their credit, and a tenant scorecard.

5. Making The Final Decision On Tenants

The landlord will always have the final decision of whom he wants to rent to. With a proper tenant screening, he can now be better equipped to make that decision.

 

Finding good tenants will always be a coin toss. Screening possible tenants can help you find out who a potential renter really is, based on their background. It will also cut down on possible problems you could face in the future.

How Screening Tenants Helps Reduce Crime in Your Neighborhood

Reducing crime in neighborhood

Most landlords know that screening potential tenants will reduce the likelihood of renting to a “problem tenant.” What they may not know is that it also helps to reduce and prevent crime in the entire neighborhood. By doing complete tenant screenings, landlords can weed out those tenants who have a criminal background, a history of violence, have bad credit history, or have a background of loud and noisy behavior – all of which can be predictors for future crime. Here is how your neighborhood will benefit from screening tenants:

  1. Criminal checks can keep unsavory characters out of the neighborhood. Landlords generally perform criminal and/or background checks on prospective tenants to make sure they’re not renting to those who have been convicted of a serious crime, or who has a history of noisy or violent acts in a previous rental home. Although some criminals may try to hide their past, a comprehensive criminal and background check will reveal their history and a landlord can then choose to reject their application in order to keep them from living in the neighborhood.
  2. Screening helps prevent high rental turnover. By screening their prospective tenants and choosing only the most qualified renters, landlords are preventing high rental turnover by matching their property to a tenant’s specific needs. Lowering this turnover creates a closer sense of community since renters who stay longer tend to get involved in the neighborhood and get to know their neighbors.
  3. Always ask for valid photo identification during the screening process. Doing so will not only verify that the person is who he says he is, but will help reveal whether he has stolen another person’s identity (perhaps to hide his own criminal background). Also ask for past utility bills to make sure the addresses match, and also request that the potential tenant give any prior names they’ve used in the past.